Competition Report: String EnsembleMay 1st, 2011 by CCA PRO
“Serial number ST 23: Hwa Chong Institution”
As we walk through the black backstage and into the light of The Republic Cultural Centre, our senses flood us. The stands and the chairs (“ahh where am I sitting why is there a huge empty space here”), the judges (“woah they’re all really old”), the audience (“oh look our juniors!”). Yet all these fade away as our conductor picks up his baton – the universe shrinks, and there is naught but us and the music.
The Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging has always been a highlight of any performing arts member’s life in their CCA. It represents an opportunity to play with the very best of musicians from across Singapore, an opportunity to showcase our own caliber, an opportunity to perform in front of among the most qualified musicians in the world.
All of us had slightly differing perceptions of the Central Judging. For some, it was an opportunity to come back after less-than-ideal previous Central Judging results. For others, it was their first endeavor of this nature. Whatever our views, our goals coincided – to play to the very best of our ability. And we all knew that the path ahead was marked with difficulty and intense work.
And work we did.
All that work culminated in a short, ten-minute performance on stage. It hardly seemed enough to warrant our effort, yet we all knew what was at stake.
The performance itself was a blur. We breathed as one, and played as one. We were acutely aware of tiny mistakes that we made, yet all that served was to spur our determination to play the rest of the music as close to perfection as possible.
As we left the stage to cheers and applause, we were filled with anxiety, exhilaration and sadness – leftover anxiety from the performance, exhilaration that we had played our music to the best of our ability and a tinge of sadness that it was all over. But above all we felt hope – hope that our music had spoken, and that others had heard.
“ST 23, Hwa Chong Institution: Gold with Honours.”
Screams and tears of joy and exuberance. Hugs and high fives. And an overwhelming gratitude – to our conductor for guiding us, to our teachers, family and friends for being with us for this journey, and to each other: for contributing to this ambiguous whole we call our CCA.
And a few days later, work begins anew.